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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Narrow is the Way


If I could share anything with you all this Christmas season, it would go something like this...

When I was six years old, I can vividly remember my family living in a big farmhouse out in the country.  I remember coming home from Sunday school after church one warm afternoon and kneeling at a coffee table of sorts in front of a large window that overlooked our sprawling front yard.  It was there that I prayed a prayer that would forever change me. 

With my eyes closed and feeling the warmth and light of the sun shining on my face through that big old window, I confessed to Jesus that I was a sinner and that I needed a Savior and that I wanted to live for Him always.  In that moment, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and never let me go. I repented of my sins, and strived to live a life that honored Him.

Just writing it out, it sounds kind of remarkable to me from an adult perspective to look back on the childhood version of myself and to be able to recount so clearly the point at which I knew that was claimed by Jesus Christ for all eternity. Somehow by the grace of God, I understood with a beautiful childlike simplicity that I was bought at a great price…that Jesus Christ had sacrificed himself, taking my place on the cross and carrying the burden of my sin, so that I could be set free.
 
What a radical display of love from the Creator to the creation.

It was a concept far bigger than my six year old self could seemingly fathom, and yet I understood even then that I was a sinner, that I would continue to struggle with sin, and that if there was a God willing to love me despite all of those things and give me victory over them and even take away my punishment for that very sin, man, did I want to know Him.  AND, man, did I want to live my life for Him.

You see, I've always been a spiritual person, that is...I've always felt ALIVE and connected to God in a way that is hard to put into words but incredibly tangible in the workings of my life.  With God at the helm, I look back upon a trail of amazing circumstances in my life woven together in such a manner that there is no denying the presence of the Lord alongside me through every mountaintop and valley.  He has carried me at the times I couldn't carry myself.

And yet, in the times I have rebelled and tried doing life my own way, I have felt a very real separation/incompleteness/darkness...an emptiness marked by a void in my soul where only the light of Christ can reach into the depths and turn the darkness to radiance.  I need that light, and I chase after that light with all of being.  AND it is for all of these reasons and so much more that I so openly bare the name of Christ over my life.  I am a Christian...a follower of Christ.

I have spent my life studying the Bible, and yet I still feel like I haven’t even cracked the tip of the iceberg.  I still have so much to learn, and I still fall short in so many ways. I still say stupid things.  I still talk before I think at times.  I still struggle with doing things my way.
 
The truth is that from the time I really learned to read, I was constantly reading and studying my Bible.  There were amazing stories of great men and women of the faith.  There were big, powerful teachings that I longed to understand, and still today, I am buried in the Word of God, longing to know Him more and more each day, and the more I seek Him through His Word and through prayer, the more He reveals to me.

Of course, there are still days when I fall on my knees before the, Lord, asking, “You’re still there, right?  I need you, Lord.  Please, PLEASE, don’t ever let me go.”

You see, I’ve always sought after the Lord, even in my times of rebellion from Him, because I’ve always known that I am nothing without Him, and true to form, my Lord and Savior has time and time again proven relentless in His pursuit of me and in His faithfulness and love for me.  Time and time again, he has rescued me from myself as I struggle to keep my eyes on Him.  

He longs for all to seek Him and to spend eternity with him...

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 2:9

But, have we as a society turned a blind eye and deaf ear to Him?  Have we traded His goodness and grace for a lie?  The very lie that whispers, "You don't need God"?

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1:6-9

While my life has had its challenges at various times, it has also carried a world of blessings.  When I say blessings, I don’t just mean the material, although, I have always been faithfully provided for, but I also mean spiritually, physically, emotionally.  While I know that trials and storms will and have come, I have also seen the steady hand of God, the God of the Bible (as I offer to you that there is no other), fighting on my behalf.  When I lack wisdom, He provides insight.  When I lack endurance, He gives strength.  When I am afraid, He brings peace.  When I am lost, He always leads me back home.

Some people call faith in Christ a crutch or a sign of weakness.  Well, I'll take that crutch any day, thank you very much!

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

So, I continue to chase after Him. 

If there were one thing I would ever want anyone to know about me, it is this…

I need Jesus, and I am nothing without Him.

So, I continue to fall on my knees and pray for a world that has traded the truth of God for the lies of self-indulgence, arrogance, pride and rebellion. Apparently, God got it all wrong, and we humans need to persuade Him to our line of thinking, or so we are deceived into believing. 

I continue to write about the “uncomfortable” stuff that makes us all squirm a little, the very stuff that the arrogant love to mock, but even so I know how much God longs for each of us to know Him...to know that we are endlessly loved no matter how dark our past...to know that we can spend eternity with Him where there will be no more pain and no more tears.  It's not too late, loved ones.  But a time will come, and the choice will be made, and that choice will determine eternity for each of us.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good.  For at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9

I continue to seek the Bible and pray that I would be able to withstand the onslaught of garbage Satan is slinging on this world.  I wish I could say that he is merely a cartoon character with horns, but the reality is far too dark and grim and far too real for pretenses.  I continue to pray for other believers being persecuted around the world – that they would remain strong and true.   

The battle is, indeed, intense.  I pray that I too would be counted worthy to stand firm in the faith.

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

As I look around me, I see not only my country, but the entire world constantly under attack by Satan.  I pray that hearts of the lost would, instead, be opened to the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus and what he has prepared for those who love him.

What no eye has seen what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Sin is rampant, loved ones, but we can have victory.

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. – Matthew 24:13

You see, my friends, the wishy-washy attitude of do whatever makes you feel “happy” and feel good just to fit in has taken the place of sound Biblical doctrine even within much of the Christian community.  The church is under attack, and the message of Gospel of Jesus Christ is being lost in the midst of false teachings.  We, as a community, are trading in the Word of God for so-and-so's opinion on whatever the hot topic of the day might be.

We need to come back to the Lord.  We need to seek His counsel first.

So often we look for favor among men, and in turn we lose the favor of the Father.

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33

Not all roads lead to heaven.  Please don’t buy into the lie of the Enemy.  

The road is narrow, friends.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Choose life, dear friends.

Have a blessed Christmas!


2 comments:

  1. Nikki, You have such a talent with words and sharing your thoughts. What a blessing you are!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a thoughtful, well said article - full of His grace and wisdom. I'm so glad your mom shared this!

    ReplyDelete

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